Making Our Mark for International Dot Day 2015

What a week!  We connected the dots with so many places around our country, shared great stories, learned about other perspectives, and viewed student-created masterpieces.  I love the conversations that Dot Day brings out in our students.

It was an amazing week, and this time I’ll just let the pictures and tweets speak for themselves.

 

 

 

Let’s Make Our Mark and See Where It Goes for Dot Day 2015

How do you and your students want to make your mark on the world this school year?  International Dot Day, which is September 15ish, is the perfect time to make connections with other schools, spark creativity and collaboration, and see where it takes you for the rest of the year.  Whether you’ve celebrated Dot Day from its beginnings or you are just getting started, we invite you to get creative with your students and share that creativity with the world.

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From the official page:
International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.”

There’s no “right” way to celebrate Dot Day.  In fact, every year people around the globe come up with new and creative ways to make dots and connect with others.  That’s the magic of this special day.

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What happens during a Dot Day connection?
Often, we start by reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds or other dot-inspired books such as Press Here by Herve Tullet.  This is done via Skype or Google Hangouts with a connecting class. We begin to connect the dots with one another by learning a bit about one another.  Sometimes we create something together.  For example, last year students in Barrow Elementary made collaborative digital dots with connecting schools via Google Drawing.

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If you need some ideas to get started, consider taking a look at Matthew Winner’s past lessons or check out what others have posted in the Dot Day gallery.

Shannon Miller and John Schu’s Dot Day video is always an inspiration.

Also, check out the Celebridots page for dots created by some of your favorite authors and illustrators.

Many times connecting schools send some of their creations to one another through traditional mail.

How to get started

  1. Register your school on the official Dot Day page.  You’ll be added to the global map as well as gain access to the educator guide which is packed with information
  2.  Visit our shared Google Doc to start making connections with other schools.  We plan to make connections during the whole week of September 14-18.  Simply post your schedule, ideas, and contact information. Then, browse the doc for other schedules that match yours.  Skype in the Classroom is also a great place to make connections.
  3.  Start collaborating with your connecting schools and get ready to make your mark with your students.

Part of making your mark on the world is getting your students’ voices and creations out into the world.  As you connect, share your creations on Twitter using #DotDay and #Makeyourmark  Consider creating a blog post to show your students’ work to the world.

Now, make your mark and see where it takes you.

tinyurl.com/dotday15

Making Our Mark with Dot Day 2014 (and I hope well beyond)

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International Dot Day is one of our favorite days (weeks) of the year.  It gives us permission to be creative and see what we can do just by making a mark.  It also connects us with so many classrooms around the world.  Classes are always looking to connect on this day, and we have made many collaborative relationships with schools because of this one day of the year.

This year, we used Dot Day as a way to explore our goal of dreaming, tinkering, creating, and sharing.  We explored Google Drawing, which was a new tool for most students.  We used Dot Day as a time to tinker and see how Google Drawing functioned as well as how to collaborate on a drawing with another student or class.

We also used colAR mix again this year to make augmented reality dots.  This year, I encouraged students to think more globally as they made their dots by embracing the them of “making your mark on the world” that is the essence of The Dot.  Students were encouraged to design a dot that represented their talents, hopes, dreams, and passions.  I loved this new twist on a tool that we used last year because it revealed so many stories from students.  One student drew a picture of an airplane flying through the clouds because of his dream to be a pilot when he grows up.  Another student drew an astronaut and UFOs because of his desire to explore space.  Another drew her whole family because they are what she loves in life.  Some students chose to highlight their creativity as a way that they make their mark by designing unusual dots with their favorite colors.  These were empowering stories because they allowed students to have a voice to share something personal about themselves in a way that they might now have shown before.

One amazing thing that happened while students were using the colAR app was how they discovered different ways to scan their dot. It started out as what some people might see as a mistake.  A student’s hand was on top of their dot while they were scanning their image, and the hand became a part of the rotating sphere on the iPad screen.  This resulted in an uproar of excitement as sharing began and the idea spread like wildfire.  Soon students were trying to put their faces on their spinning spheres.  Others stacked towers of crayons on top of their dot and tried to see if that would scan into the 3D image.  All of this happened because of an opportunity to tinker.  When we give kids a space to explore, they figure out amazing things and they willingly share and teach others what they learned.  They get excited about their learning and they want to do more.  I bet that these students would have spent an extended period of time continuing to experiment with colAR mix to see what else they could figure out, and they would have done this without getting tired or bored.  These are the things that days like Dot Day reveal.

We had numerous Skype connections.  Each one had its own unique twists and conversations between students and teachers.  In many of these Skypes, we collaborated on a Google Drawing dots after reading the book.  This included dots with our friend Okle Miller in Tampa, Edie Crook in North Carolina, and Crystal Hendrix in North Carolina (just to name a few).  Sometimes this was live during a Google Hangout or Skype and other times it was after we disconnected.  One of our hangouts was a large hangout between Matthew Winner in Maryland, Nancy Jo Lambert in Texas, Donna MacDonald in Vermont, and Esther Uribe in Texas.  It was fun to read The Dot to students in so many states at one time, but what was even more fun was drawing with all of them at the same time!  We definitely did some tinkering with this one.  Many of us learned of the challenges of younger students but found ways to involved them even with computer-use difficulties.  The students loved seeing drawings “magically” appear on our shared dot.

Ramsey & Winner Dot

Our multi-school collaborative dot

With Jennifer Reed in Massachusetts, we accidentally deleted all of our work on our collaborative dot.  The kids were in a panic, but it was a fantastic opportunity to do an impromptu lesson on the power of revision history in Google Drive.  We were able to recover our work and learn an important trick.  We even talked about how revision history is one way that work is never deleted, which can be a positive but also a negative if you have written something that you wished you hadn’t.

Wright & Reeder Dot

Our dot with Jennifer Reed that was almost lost!

Mrs. Clarke’s class had a Skype connection, but we weren’t able to do a collaborative dot with our connecting class.  Instead, we split the class in half at our 2 projection boards and they created a dot together as a class.  They got just a bit competitive as they tried to cover up each other’s work, but even this was a great opportunity to talk about how to work with others on a doc without being disrespectful of the contributions.

Clarke & Lussier Dot

Mrs. Clarke’s class competitive dot

Some classes that we connected with had already spent a great deal of time being creative, and they shared with us dots that they are going to physically mail to us.  Jenny Lussier in Connecticut had colAR dots as well as Morse code greeting cards.  We can’t wait to decode what they say!  We also discovered with Jenny that there’s more than one version of The Dot floating around out there.

Cathy Potter’s students in Maine read the book Ish to our students and shared their own illustrations for the book.  We had a great conversation about the connections between both books.

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Students and teachers alike love this day, but I do leave this day with a wondering.  I’m thinking so much this year about global thinking and global collaboration.  This day is filled with thousands of Skype and Google Hangout connections around the world.  We connect.  We read.  We dream.  We create.  But then what?  We leave one another until the next big event.  I’m by no means being negative about Dot Day.  I’m a huge advocate, but I do wonder about why we don’t build upon these connections we make.  If we are really going to “make our mark” on the world, shouldn’t we be taking some actions together beyond connecting, reading, and creating?  I would like to gently nudge us all to think about this.  I’m just as guilty.  I connect every year and then I move on, but I can’t help but carry this on my mind, reflect on it, and consider what more we might do beyond today.  Think with me!  Let’s keep our dots connected.

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International Dot Day: First Steps

dot day (14)Today, the very first classes came to participate in International Dot Day lessons.  Ms. Olin’s 5th grade class read The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  We talked about what it means to make your mark on the world.  I loved hearing their ideas because they really had a sense of how they could make a difference.  I had 2 separate areas setup for them.  One area had coffee filters, a variety of coloring supplies, a water bottle, and tables covered in black butcher paper.  They could use the materials in any way they wanted to be creative making a dot.  The other area had iPads loaded with Glow Coloring and Drawcast.  Students who chose iPads used a stylus to draw a dot and save it to the camera roll on the device.

Students chose where they went.  I made no requirements about doing a dot at both locations.  Some students chose to make several coffee filters dots by trying different techniques of using markers, crayons, color pencils, and water.  Others chose to make multiple iPad dots.  A few chose to do both.  Once students’ dots dried, I started making our dot gallery on the windows of the library.dot day (15)

dot day (16)Later in the day, Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class came to begin a dot project.  They are going to be studying several artists and learning how they can express themselves through art.  One of the artists they will learn about is Chuck Close.  This is a perfect tie-in to Dot Day since Chuck Close creates paintings that are made of numerous dots that come together to make a larger picture.  I had already read Sky Color to her class and they became very interested in painting murals.  Today, I showed them pictures of a mural in my daughter and son’s room and how the idea for the mural came from several children’s books.  Then, we read Diego Rivera His World and Ours.  The book details how Rivera traveled Mexico to get ideas for his murals.  It also raises the question about what Rivera would paint if he were alive today.  I love that the book ends by saying, “Today Diego is not around to make this happen.  So it is up to us to make our own murals and bring them to life.”  This was Mrs. Kelly’s lead-in to the mural that they will now create using dots in their classroom.  The mural will be displayed in the library, and we will probably have some more lessons before it is done.

dot day (17)I also discovered a great new iPad app after reading about it on Fablevision.  colAR Mix is an augmented reality app that brings coloring pages to life in 3D.  They have made a special coloring page just for dot day.  I made a practice dot, and it was so much fun seeing it pop off the page on the iPad.  You can take a picture of your 3D dot and save it to the camera roll.  I’m sure several classes will try this one out.dot day